Call it years of experience, perspective or even being instructed to stay on message to present a unified point.
Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is intent on reinforcing that fact that last year was all well and good for the Bulldogs, but also that it is now time to move head and not glance toward the rear-view mirror.
“What happened last year is just last year. What took place last year, is it going to happen next year? There’s no guarantee of that, there really isn’t. You attack that year and try to be the coach you can be. You study during that off season all the time- what can we do better? And that’s my obligation- to go do it,” Chaney told media this weekend in Athens. “I go in there every year with a great fear of failure. That’s just good coaches. You don’t want to fail at anything. You want to make sure you are on your game. That’s my obligation to this university and Coach Smart is to make sure that I bring my “A” game every year. My name is stapled on this offense and I want it to do well.”
One way that’ll be paramount for the offense to continue to well? Take advantage of the best players on the roster, something that’s become a trademark of the Smart regime in Athens. Simply put, if a player’s ready to play, they’ll find their way to the field.
“Playing with two or three wide receivers and two running backs on the field won’t be foreign to us. We have the packages to do all that. Now, can you tell me that second running back is better than that second wide out or that third tight end? Who are you going to play? I’m going to put the 11 best players out on that field to win the game. If not Coach Smart will be looking at me like I’m the dumbest man on earth and he doesn’t like really good players standing by him on the sideline,” Chaney said. “He really doesn’t like that. If he’s one of the best he’s going to be on the field. If we happen to have two of our backs are the best then they’re probably going to be on the field.”
That mindset looks to include the running back position. Even last season, packages were put in place to get D’Andre Swift on the field, even with either Nick Chubb or Sony Michel also lined up at the same time in the backfield.
“The kids we have, we like. We think they’re going to be good football players but to go out on the field and perform they have yet to do that. We have to watch them do that, watch them go play. We are excited about it. We’re optimistic about it,” Chaney said. “The rubber hits the road in about a month when we go out on the field and play. We’ll find out where we are at that time. But we sure like those kids. I’d rather be in our position than a lot of other people’s position. We have good talent at that spot with great kids.”
And there is that whole question of getting another offensive player on the field...Justin Fields, that is.
“In my particular role, I worry about everybody. And every good football player we have, you try to find ways to get them on the field and utilize them. And right now, Justin’s battling the quarterback spot, as is Jamaree Salyer with the guard spot, as is Luke Ford with the tight end spot. All that young group of kids that we brought in are all competing. I love [Justin]; he’s a wonderful young man, comes from a great family. He’s a competing son-of-a-gun, and he’s also a hell of a good football player,” Chaney said. “The future is very bright for him. As far as what happens in the future, as far as playing time and all that, all that is going to take place in the next three to four weeks, and all that who plays and who doesn’t play, you know as well as I do, that gets down to Coach Smart’s decision.”
More From Chaney
How is Jake Fromm different this season?
“He’s more confident with the X’s and O’s. There’s no question about that. He’s got that year under him, and he had a fantastic year, and he’s playing good football for us, and he’s playing very confident. But Jake’s personality has always been Jake. Even last year, he was a freshman, he was still Jake. He’s an outgoing guy, he likes to talk to his teammates. He’s positive all the time. So a lot of his personality traits haven’t changed. A lot of it is his familiarity, and he played 900-some snaps of football last year. That’s hard to overlook. He’s a good football player.”
Georgia’s size up front on the offensive line
“We like those big kids, you guys know that. What you have to understand when you go big and you try to develop a team the way we try to do it, we’re physical playing the line of scrimmage, we’re going to try to beat you up up front. With that there are some inherent fleas that come with it. Some quick defensive linemen might give us a little bit of trouble, but we think by the end of the game- beating on you and pounding on you- our bigs will overcome.
Back to Isaiah, I think he’s progressing as planned and he has to continue to learn the game of football, continue to compete and get playing time. I will add this- there are not a lot of positions that are locked up on an individual right now. We have a tremendous amount of competition going on throughout our football team, which I’m tickled with. I can’t wait to watch them compete.”
On Georgia’s receivers
“The receiving core in general is older, they’ve played a lot. We have Riley (Ridley), Mecole (Hardman), and Terry (Godwin) who have played a lot. Trey (Blount) played last year. Jeremiah (Holloman) played last year. The one thing about our receiving core you have to remember is- you think about Special Teams. Tyler Simmons, Riley (Ridley), and Jayson Stanley all played over 100 snaps last year on Special Teams- that’s a game and a quarter of nothing more than Special Teams. In places where I’ve been, wide receivers hadn’t played that much. That’s telling you a little bit about their character. They care about the team and they’re physical football players. You can’t play Special Teams and be any other way. We try to encourage all of our kids in that room and it’s going to get down to that room. When we walk out on that bus- who is going to be on the bus, who is going to play on Special Teams? If you have a first round wide out? I don’t know, maybe we do, maybe we don’t. I don’t know for sure yet until we go play. In our room they understand of their need to do that (play on Special Teams) in order to get on the bus and that can be said for a lot of positions. We don’t get to travel 110 people. We are going to travel 70. If you want to be on it, go earn that spot. We have enough competition now that the kids understand that. “